Levels of Belief
During a deep meditation after having a drink of Appleton Rum, my mind wandered off into the world of religion. I wondered how many different types of believers are there. Not how many different religions there are, but if you were to pick one religion say, Christianity, how many types of believers would there be that practice their faith and, to what extent. Don’t get me confused with the idea of denominations/sects, I’m talking about the many levels of belief, starting with the fanatical believers and working its way down to the full blown satanics. I’m pretty sure I fall somewhere closer to the lower end but lets take a look at each segment separately.
- The Fanatical: These are the people that take religious belief to the next level. The suicide bombers, the bus preachers, the holier than holy self righteous types. They believe that EVERYBODY is wrong and that they are right. They believe that their god is the only true god, and they will twist gospels and preachings to suit their own needs and propaganda. Everyone around them is a sinner even the devout and they will go to all lengths to try and save the sinners while simultaneously judging and condemning them.
- The Devout: They are the individuals who are absorbed in religious exercises and duties. They go to church as much as possible, that is, Sundays, Wednesday Bible study and teach Sunday school. They will defend their beliefs in spite of overwhelming evidence that proves that their belief is flawed and they will choose their church above all else. They do not sin and if they do, God will forgive them. No sex before marriage, no divorce, nothing that is deemed wrong as per to the Bible or their denomination rules.
- The life is screwed up: When you were younger you were a presumptuous sinner. You had your fun, made mistakes that you regret and now your life is screwed up. You turn to the church and god and you are now saved and reborn. You become a mixture of devout and fanatic. You go to church as much as possible and judge people as if you are god himself. Your mistakes have been forgiven and its like you never made them in the first place.
- The Believer: You believe because you want to. You probably grew up in the faith but you made a conscious decision to continue. You try to live a good life and you accept people for who they are. You love yourself and everyone else. You try not to push your beliefs on anyone but you will give a few words of advice. You go to church every Sunday but you will visit a friends church and accept their religious exercises. You read the bible and volunteer when you can. You try not to judge others but sometimes it just happens.
- The Traditional Believer: You go because your father and mother went every Sunday, your aunts, uncles, your parents parents, cousins and next door neighbor. You believe but you have no choice in the matter because you are expected to believe.
- The Fear Holy Repercussion: You frequent church because you were scared shitless by your pastor when you were young. You were told if you don’t go to church every Sunday you would burn in the eternal fire of hell. If you miss one Sunday you give twice the tithes next Sunday.
- The occasional visitor: You go because you think its a nice exercise, you may skip a few Sundays but you have to go at least once per month, well, unless you have vacation and you cant make it. Maybe next month.
- The presumptuous sinner: Fornicators, party goers, alcoholics, adulterers, petty thieves, and liars all fall in this category. You go every now and again to ask for forgiveness for your particular transgression. When you make your plea, you feel cleansed and ready to transgress again. God will forgive you because you acknowledge your mistakes but you’re having too much fun to stop, god will understand.
- The eyes wide shut: You are the same as the presumptuous sinner except you think, no you believe that you are doing nothing wrong. Monday-Saturday is a blur and on Sunday you are the most perfect of Gods creation. Anybody who thinks otherwise is a hater and you will pray for them.
- The semi believer: You believe in a higher power but you will not go to church because everyone in the congregation is a hypocrite, you prefer to worship on your own (if any at all) but you fear God and try to live a good life. You accept that man sins and all that man can do is to try and live a good life.
- The forced: You are probably young and still under your parents thumb. You have no choice but to believe what your parents believe and do what your parents do. You may think its all bullshit but you cant say anything for fear of punishment or being ridiculed. Your friends are all ‘eyes wide shut’ so you cant say anything to the contrary.
- The ulterior motive: You have an hidden agenda. You may or may not believe but belief is not your primary focus. You may be in it for the money, using your natural power of speech to con people into giving extra tithes on Sunday. You may be pretending in order to get into the pants of a eyes wide shut. Your wife (damn you love that woman) decides to convert and you promise to go with her because you know better, if you don’t go no sex later.
- The confused: You’ve been to a church, a synagogue and a few other places of worship and you realize something, they all preach the same thing, good will among men and to live a good life. The only difference is dress, practice and deities. You have no idea what which direction to take, Allah, Buddah and Jesus all make good points.
- The agnostic (aka the dont knows): You don’t know whether or not God exist but you would prefer to spend your time doing something productive than to wonder whether or not you will go to hell for not making up your mind. You will go to church or engage in a friendly religious debate in order to see if something will tip the table one way or the other.
- The don’t know don’t cares: You don’t know and you really don’t care whether or not religion is wrong or right. You are living in the moment, you have pressing matters to deal with. You try not to think of it and most of the time you don’t.
- The Atheists: You know without a doubt that there is no such thing as heaven, hell or god. You think that religion is a story told ages ago to keep people in check and it got way out of hand. You believe in what you can see and hear and you wont be caught dead in a church.
- The satanics: You believe god exists, you believe the devil exists too but you hate what god stands for. You like evil, havoc and mayhem. You set out to break every rule in the bible and you look forward to hell.
So that concludes my levels of belief. I challenge you to figure out which level you belong to, accept it and if you wish, try to change it.